Stakeholder involvement in the Rural Development policy context means engaging individuals ranging from policy designers to project beneficiaries in all stages of the policy cycle: from policy-making to better implementation on the ground.
This wide range of stakeholders can be broadly categorised in three main groups:
- Policy and programme designers and implementers: political decision-makers; public administrators in national, regional and local authorities and European institutions; and LEADER Local Action Groups
- Interest group representative bodies: organisations representing farmers, landowners, forest managers, rural businesses, actors along the food chain, environmentalists, researchers, rural communities, and disadvantaged groups
- Actors on the ground: potential and actual beneficiaries and participants in EAFRD projects, with farmers and land managers at the forefront
Rural networks can add the most value in bringing the wide range of stakeholder groups together in a common platform.
In particular, rural networks can:
- Act as a bridge between the public authorities and interest group representatives and actors on the ground
- Support coordination, communication and capacity building among public authorities on all levels
- Help build capacity and develop common positions among actors on the ground and their representative bodies
- Help reach out to and inform a broader concerned audience of the benefits of the policy
The Network for Rural Development of Serbia, when it comes to networking, operates on three levels:
- Territory of Serbia, including national, provincial and local level. At all levels, it aims to contribute to the involvement of stakeholders in processes that contribute to policy promotion and implementation, capacity building in rural development, linking actors to rural development and better information
- Balkan region, through cooperation within the Balkan Network for Rural Development
- Europe and the EU, through membership in the European network PREPARE and establishing mechanisms, such as the European Rural Parliament.